New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with Local Media
Monday, December 30, 2013
Could we first get your initial evaluation of the Eagles?
"It is kind of ongoing right now. Obviously we had a chance to watch the game last night and then we are basically doing video study now. They are obviously an explosive team offensively. Defensively they came up with a number of big stops in last night's game. I think clearly, the last half of the season they are playing outstanding football."
Does there up-tempo offense maybe catch a team off guard even though that is their reputation?
"It is hard to prepare for. It is hard to simulate in practice with the scout team. The pace is extremely fast, extremely fast and so we will have our work cut out for us this week with just trying to replicate or get the same look as our scout team offense."
Typically the idea is you have to keep your personnel on the field defensively against them?
"At times they will make substitutions. You certainly have to be prepared to stay in the personnel you have with them staying on the same personnel."
What do you like about what Chip Kelly has done with his offense?
"There is a lot of variety. You have to defend the whole field. They can attack you down the field. They have outstanding weapons at (wide) receiver. They have a fantastic running back (LeSean McCoy. The tight end (Brent) Celek is exceptional and you see the quarterback (Nick Foles) operating with great poise. They make you defend the whole field. They do a great job with misdirection, creating those running lanes and really keeping you off balance defensively."
Do you have to get your team ready for the atmosphere in Philadelphia?
"It is playoff atmosphere so regardless of what stadium you would be in. These are passionate fans that love their football team. It will be loud. It is a hostile environment and a very difficult place to play. I think that their fan base does a great job of certainly pulling for their team and it's a challenge especially this time of the year when you are in the post season."
What's going to be your schedule this week?
"Our plan is to practice our normal routine this week, Wednesday, Thursday, we will cut back some on Friday, and then travel."
Obviously the team's road woes have been well documented. Is that something that worries you at all? Is that something you are kind of looking forward to knocking the door down on that?
"We'd looked a lot of different things. This week we are going to look at a handful of changes. I think that we get into the postseason it is going to be important for us as a wild card team to play well on the road. I think Drew (Brees) mentioned it yesterday. We are going to look at, shoot, everything from what we eat, the Gatorade color we are choosing, the sweats we are wearing, and we will change all of that."
How do you view playoff fever by fans?
"It is just raising the bar and when you have success we talked about it all the way back in 2006 really, about changing a culture and creating a winning environment. Those expectations rise and that is a good thing."
Can you talk about the team's performance this year in light of last year?
"There are a lot of things that are different. Last year was very unique. There were a lot of things that I would say were unsettling and the thing that I am proud of is this team has come back right away, found a way to win 11 games despite losing draft picks, (and) despite a number of disadvantages. None of that has really kept them from playing their best football. I said yesterday, it is difficult to win 11 games in this league. It's an entirely different season from a year ago."
With changing the Gatorade and sweats you wear, how much of that is you sort of want them to embrace this and not shy away from it?
"No, I mean seriously, the red Gatorade that we have been drinking and the orange obviously isn't doing it so we are going to switch I think to green. The night before what we eat I think is going to be changed up a bit and how we dress is going to be different. Those are things that are important."
Can you talk about your time in Philadelphia and what that was like?
"It was my first two years in the NFL. I was a college coach prior to 1997 and having an opportunity to go back to an area that I grew up in as a kid, down the road in Newtown Square all the way up until the 8th grade. I have family, friends, a lot of different people back there that I am familiar with. To have a chance to begin an NFL career there was exciting. It seems like so long ago. There are a number of guys on that staff that are successful, David Shaw, Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan was our line coach, John Harbaugh, Joe Vitt who is with us now. We had a ton of very good football coaches there during the two years I was there. A lot of those coaches have gone on to have great careers."
Was it your plan at the beginning of the year to have Kenny Stills have the involvement he has with the offense or was that something that just happened?
"It is hard for (with) a rookie to say that that was our plan to being with, but to his credit he came in right away to rookie camps and training camp and very quickly picked up what we were doing. I think he and Nick Toon benefited from a lot of reps in the preseason with the first group because of some injuries to the veteran players so they got maybe an ordinate amount of reps, but most importantly reps with Drew (Brees). He is someone that studies and picks the game up very quickly. He can run exceptionally well and we just have to keep looking for ways to get him the football."
Can you talk about the comfort level of having so many key players on offense that have been part of the last five years, the fourth playoff in five years, having those guys with you on this difficult road through the playoffs?
"It is hard to keep rosters together in today's NFL and I think that we've been fortunate with the health number one and the durability of a lot of these players you are referencing. Each week it kind of varies who ends up with more touches, but there has been a lot of carryover with systems and coaching staff and then the players that are in it. I think we are a young team if you look at a roster with the amount of rookies that made this team. We still have that veteran leadership that has been in these types of games. It is a little combination of both. Each year your team takes on really a new identity and I think this is a group that has worked extremely hard and improving off of last year's record."
Quotes from Sean Payton's Monday review
Coach Payton spoke with the New Orleans media via conference call on Monday, December 30, 2013
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton